The neck or cervical spine consists of seven small vertebrae at the base of the skull. Amazingly, your neck supports the weight of your head, which weighs on average 12 pounds. The flexibility of the cervical spine which can move your head in almost all directions, makes it especially susceptible to injury and pain. This susceptibility is sometimes due to biomechanics. Extended sitting or repetitive movement, falls, accidents, trauma to the head or body, or natural aging can affect cervical biomechanics.
Causes of Neck Pain
- Accident and Injuries – Whiplash is an injury where the head bounces back and fourth causing a sudden force of the neck in the opposite direction. The injury damages surrounding tissues creating muscle weakness and results in stiffness and pain. Automobile accidents are the most common cause of whiplash.
- Age-related disorders – degenerative disorders such as osteoarthritis or spinal stenosis affect the spine. Spinal stenosis is the narrowing of the spaces in the spine which can strain your spinal cord. It often occurs in the lower back and neck. Osteoarthritis causes progressive weakening of cartilage. Bone spurs form as the body reacts, which will affect joint motion.
- Degenerative disc disease is the decrease of the flexibility of the inter-vertebral discs. As you grow older, the discs may herniate or bulge causing the numbness, tingling, and pain in the neck that radiates into the arm.
- Obesity, weak abdominal muscles, and poor posture disturb the spinal balance, causing the neck to curve. Tension and stress can cause tightening of muscles, resulting in pain. Body stance can be a factor for chronic neck pain.
Chiropractic Treatment for Neck Pain
When you visit a chiropractic doctor, he or she will perform a physical examination to detect the source of your pain. He or she will ask about your present symptoms and medications you may already have tried.
Your doctor will ask the following questions:
- When does the pain start?
- What did you do for your neck pain?
- Is the pain going through other parts of your body?
- Have you noticed anything that reduces the pain or worsens it?
Your chiropractor will perform neurological and physical examinations. Your doctor will observe posture, your physical condition, range of motion, and movements that are causing pain. The chiropractor will observe your reflexes, muscle strength and other nerve changes with a neurological exam.
Sometimes, your chiropractor will require an x-ray to help diagnose your condition; as it can show narrowed disc space, bone spurs, arthritis, or fractures.
Cervical Manipulation or Neck Adjustments
A neck adjustment improves the flexibility of the spine and brings back the range of motion, it also increases the movement of the connecting muscles. After the treatment is complete, patients usually notice an increase in range of motion and a decrease of discomfort and soreness.
Depending on your personal needs, the chiropractor will develop a combination of the program for more than one type of treatment. For example, spine manipulation may be combined with mobilization massage or rehabilitative exercises.
- Cervical Mobilization – while the patient is relaxed lying on his or her back the chiropractor manually moves the bone in the neck, with a side to side motion, moving the head forward, backward, and in the rotation. The goal of this stretch is to reduce the restricted motion in the cervical spinal segment. Chiropractors usually use their hands to treat the patients.
Research Supporting Chiropractic
A recent review of scientific literature shows that patients with chronic neck pain reported remarkable improvement after chiropractic spinal manipulation.
An increasing number of research studies show that chiropractic treatments are very safe and cost effective.
If you want to visit a top-rated chiropractor, call Beyond Wellness Center today for a consultation.